Monday, December 2nd, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: November 2013 / Informe mensual noviembre 2013
It is not yet known who was responsible for the November 14th assault on the office of the human rights institution Pro-Búsqueda. But, coming in the context of last month’s shut-down of the Catholic human rights office Tutela Legal, and a much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling that could nullify or repeal the country’s 1993 amnesty law, thereby opening the door to prosecutions of war crimes, there are reasons to be concerned about the human rights climate in El Salvador.
Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: October 2013 / Informe mensual octubre 2013
Human Rights: The sudden shutdown of Tutela Legal, El Salvador’s well-respected Catholic human rights office, on orders from the Archbishop of San Salvador, stunned the national and international human rights community. Several weeks later, the motivations for the closing and the future of the archives remain obscure.
Monday, September 30th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: September 2013 / Informe mensual septiembre 2013
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact:
El Salvador is on the verge of becoming the first country to receive a second MCC development grant. The MCC Board approved the proposal on September 12th, but Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) raised objections, charging “inaction” by President Funes on sensitive issues including organized crime and corruption. The ensuing contretemps between the President and the Senator could delay or even derail the process.
Friday, September 6th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: August 2013 / Informe mensual agosto 2013
This summer’s end finds Salvadorans more scandalized by news of alleged game fixing by their beloved soccer team than by the report that two of the country’s best-known – and as yet publicly unnamed – businesses have failed to pay $50 million each in taxes. Still, there is good news for the nation’s coffers as well as for anti-mining activists and the environment: The lawsuit for $100 million brought against the government by the Commerce Group Corporation was tossed out by the World Banks’s arbitration center, ICSID (International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes.)
Thursday, August 1st, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: July 2013 / Informe mensual julio 2013
As a number of challenging weeks for El Salvador’s 17-month gang truce wrapped up, President Mauricio Funes indicated that his government is pushing ahead on the peace process “with determination” and, he emphasized, “The mediators have our support.” The explosion of gang violence that occurred during the first days of July was either the result of a “dirty war” to undermine the truce, according to truce mediators, or, as others insist, a strategy by the gangs to assert political power over the government and push for more privileges.
Tuesday, July 9th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: June 2013 / Informe mensual junio 2013
After El Salvador’s gang truce and peace process reached its 15th month, the process experienced a period of intense upheaval. The ruling by the Constitutional Chamber of the country’s Supreme Court that President Funes’ security appointments were unconstitutional led to a sudden spate of firings and resignations. The appointment of a new security team and replacements in key leadership positions could be positive in the long run if the changes include more transparency and clarity. However, the rules of the game appear all the more ambiguous, and the abrupt transition caused confusion and unease.
Thursday, June 6th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: May 2013 / Informe mensual mayo 2013
President Mauricio Funes ended the fourth year of his five-year term with a rousing address to the National Assembly on June 1st. He lauded the achievements of his administration, lambasted ARENA, and interestingly gave only passing mention to his controversial public security policy, which has been under fire for the past month. By the end of May, the future of El Salvador’s gang truce – which has resulted in a dramatic and continual reduction in homicides for the last fourteen months – seemed uncertain, after a series of seemingly unrelated events unfolded that could derail the peace process. For their part however, El Salvador’s Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18 gang leaders remain committed.
Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: April 2013 / Informe mensual abril 2013
In the midst of political bickering, economic woes, violence and little good news, word arrived on April 22nd that Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero’s beatification process had been “unblocked” by newly-anointed Pope Francis. The beatification cause was initiated in 1996, according to an Italian TV report, but was obstructed by the previous two popes. Archbishop Romero’s condemnations of violence and repression carried out by the Salvadoran military, paramilitary and death squads led to his assassination, but “were not understood by Rome.” It is expected that the road to sainthood will be long, but Father José Maria Tojeira of the University of Central America (UCA) expressed the sentiments of many Catholics and non-Catholics alike throughout Latin America: “This is an act of justice because he truly was a martyr.” President Funes announced that he will meet with the Pope in May to express gratitude for the decision.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: March 2013 / Informe mensual marzo 2013
March was a month of anniversaries in El Salvador: one hopeful – the first anniversary of the gang truce – and the others grim reminders of the war and of dashed expectations for truth and justice. The March 24, 1980 assassination of Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero was the moment Salvadorans knew war was inevitable. The violence and the exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees in the days, months, and years that followed transformed the social fabric of the country and will for years to come. The report of the Truth Commission documenting responsibility for many of the most egregious war crimes was released March 15, 1993. Just five days later, conservative legislators swiftly approved an amnesty law that slammed the door to justice shut.
Monday, March 4th, 2013 | Linda Garrett
El Salvador Update: February 2013 / Informe mensual febrero 2013
It has been nearly a year since El Salvador’s nascent and still-controversial gang truce started. During the night of March 8-9, 2012, under the cover of darkness, gang leaders were transferred from maximum to minimum security prisons, and so began the peace process that continues to this day. Within days, the homicide rate dropped dramatically. As a result, El Salvador is no longer on the list of the world’s most violent counties and security no longer leads the list of Salvadorans’ concerns.